I'm sitting back here at the sound booth and the band is practicing for the upcoming Sunday morning. This is always a good time for blogging as I sit by a computer for an hour with only minimal interruptions to turn up someone's monitor or ask the drummer to bring it down a notch on the snare. Ah, the delicate relationship between the drummer and the sound man. Each can make or break the other. It's a love/hate thing, really.
I have a long-held theory about drummers. There are only two kinds, two categories to divide them into, and these categories are distinguished solely by which personality disorder a particular drummer is afflicted with: ADD or OCD (Attention Deficit Disorder or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Some of you other musicians are already nodding your heads in acknowledgement. Non-musicians have clicked on the "next blog" button in the upper right hand corner. For those of you still with me, I will continue. The ADD drummer drums the way he lives: Scattered, constantly moving, and loud. I've played with and run sound for many such drummers. The best thing about them is their visible passion for the music and their Spirit-led musicianship. I just wish the Spirit would tell them it isn't necessary to beat the drums within an inch of their lives to passionately worship. We have one drummer at our church who needs a Dirt Devil just to suck up all the stick fragments that litter the floor after he plays a service. This sort of ADD drummer often poses a problem for the sound man. You don't want to squash his creativity or take all the passion away, but on the flip side a worship set is much less effective when words are indistinguishable. "...CRASH! ..Indescribable, CRASH!... Uncontainable, ...SNARE! placed the CRASH! in the SNARE! and You CRASH! them by TOM FILL!..." That just doesn't fly with the over-forty crowd, and they're the ones who are always filling out those comment cards. We've resorted to encasing our ADD drummers in Plexiglas, and this has worked well for the most part. The biggest drawback to this is that now the sound of the drums reverberating around their little cubicle only serves to deafen them further, thus causing them to play even louder. At least when they're forty they won't be able to hear anything and they won't write me any comment cards.
The OCD drummer is a good drummer because he is steady, sure, and always on. He rarely overplays and sometimes even shows up armed with his metronome just to make sure. Problems don't usually arise until you need to change something. If you need to repeat a chorus or cut a verse on the fly, you can't just notify an OCD drummer of the change. You have to completely reprogram him. This can get hairy 15 minutes before doors open. But you've got to love the OCD drummer because he always shows up to practice on time, he's always prepared, and, best of all, he stops playing when the worship leader is talking. His music is in order and he's always writing stuff down. The OCD drummer is the safe drummer. They're just not as fun to watch as their counterparts. I watch some of the particularly militant ones play and I think to myself that if they're missing a stick, I have a pretty good idea where it might be.
I don't think any of my drumming friends read my blog, but I think some of their friends do. So if you are one such friend, there's no need to pass this blog along to them. Just sit smugly with your new-found insight into their psychological issues, and silently sift them into their appropriate categories.